Ok, this is expensive tea. Almost 300€´s per kilogram. It has been handpicked only a month ago in Anxi, southern Fujian, China. It´s very exciting to think how fresh this tea really is.

I steep it at 85ºC for 2 minutes. I find myself being extra careful while handling these delicate and precious leaves. It´s a nice feeling.

Iron, metal. Rolling hills of knee high grass, It takes me up, I quite literally raise my head with the fumes. Very light yellow/green drink.There´s myriad nuances in the odour, too fine and fleeting to desribe in words. Like butterflies in dappled sunlight.

First sip:wow. First a vegetable round sweetness that changes to a rapid tingling bitterness on the tip of the tongue and frontal palate, just behind the upper front teeth. There is a great ocean somewhere nearby, although the surrounding hills don´t give a direct view of it. I´m a miner mining iron ore with old time pick-axes and shovels. The tea goes down the throat like liquid gold. There´s this big orchestra with traditional instruments playing the solid undertones, but the virtuoso solo violinist takes the whole into new soaring heights. I didn´t know tea could have this many levels and tones. Remarkable! A fresh breeze like someone opened the window.

I read it´s called “iron tieguanyin” and I really can see why, now. There´s this really special smell and taste, a tingy metal. Flint hitting steel. I feel it´s somehow heretic to say this: it´s almost like the smell of certain plastics. Very surprising but absolutely perfectly functional.

I find it a bit hard on my conscience to keep on purchasing expensive teas. I feel I really would have some more practical things that I should use that money on. But life is short. That´s one thing I´ve been thinking more and more about, and these teas really give me some comfort and meaning, so why not? I should try to find and settle on a couple of affordable basic teas as my “every day” drinks, though. I can´t drink Tie Guan Yin for breakfast every day.

Second steep. The open leaves have serrated edges and they are really dark green, is that the autumn flush´s trademark? A slightly greener liquid. The scent is more round, with a clear hint of orchids. It´s exactly the same scent as that of a zygopetalum- orchid that I have on my window. The leaves in the pot are dark green and they are opening up, they have a slight maltiness to them. The tea is like a walk in a sub-tropical garden. Humming birds and exotic fruit trees. An umami roundness rolls down the tongue. I feel very happy and peaceful. The long awaited guest has taken his overcoat off and is chatting with me in front of the fireplace, the formality is melting away.

Now I remember this smell: it´s the cow parsley that I slash down along the path as a kid.

Steep number three. The orchid is even stronger here. I´m feeling so blissful that I don´t see the point in describing the taste which is just perfectly harmonious and whole. I don´t know the particulars of Tie Guan Yin´s manufacturing process, or what makes it an wulong, but to me it´s like a perfect green tea.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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An ex-coffee addict who just a little while ago finally admitted that coffee was only making him nervous and anxious. I´m at awe of the rich world that has opened to my senses after changing to tea. Each morning as I open my eyes I´m already thinking about which tea to have… it´s just wonderful, not a habit but a real passion. Or at least the beginnings of one.

Otherwise, I´m 36- years old, have a wonderful wife, two kids, two dogs. We live in an 70- year old house that isn´t sure to be standing for too many more.

With teas I´m still very much at the beginning stage where there´s so many things I haven´t tried and don´t know about that it´s almost overwhelming, but I´m trying to learn to enjoy the process and to be open to everything new.

I just keep on marveling about how satisfying a cup of tea really can be, on so many levels!


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